Homecoming comes to a close

PARKERSBURG – The classic rock band The Guess Who closed out the 2014 Parkersburg Homecoming Festival on Sunday night to a crowd of enthusiastic fans.

Performing such hits as “American Woman,” “Bus Rider,” “Clap for the Wolfman,” “Laughing” and others, the band met the expectations of many who came out to see them, despite a brief bit of rain in the evening before the band took the stage.

“I wanted to see The Guess Who,” said Barbara Hinesman of Doddridge County. “I like their music.”

This was the first Homecoming festival concert Hinesman has seen in 10 years.

“I haven’t been here in years, but because they were coming, I decided to come,” she said. “They brought out someone who brings back those memories from when we were younger.

“I didn’t know they were still alive.”

Hinesman has been busy over the years with her family with her youngest recently graduating from high school. Sunday’s visit to Homecoming was an opportunity to get out with some friends and relatives.

The brief rain did not bother Hinesman and her party as many of them came prepared with umbrellas.

“I don’t think the rain is going to amount to much,” Hinesman said. “It will be OK.”

Brad and Brenda Emrick, of Lubeck, like coming out to the different shows put on for the festival.

“We don’t usually get to see a band like this in Parkersburg,” Brad Emrick said Sunday. “It is like any Homecoming, it is the entertainment.

“It is a nice event.”

Brenda Emrick was also prepared with an umbrella.

“I didn’t think it was going to rain too much,” Brad said. “It should be all right.”

Throughout the day Sunday, there was still a lot going on from the Soapbox Derby down Market Street to a number of concerts at the Point Park Stage to the 2014 Rubber Ducky Derby Drawing.

Officials sold around 3,000 Rubber Ducky tickets this year. Officials are considering moving the drawing in the future to just before the closing concert to give more time to sell tickets and to have a bigger crowd present for the drawing.

Parkersburg Homecoming President Sherry Valentine said the festival had been going smoothly with no major problems through the weekend. Early estimates have around 30,000 people for the weekend.

Kim File, of Belpre, brought her grandchildren down to the festival Sunday to ride the rides, watch the boats on the river and to eat. They came and watched the fireworks Saturday night.

“We come every year,” she said. “There is a lot of entertainment for a lot of different age groups.”

Bob Winebrenner, of Parkersburg, said their family always comes to the Homecoming Festival every year.

“It is part of the tradition,” he said. “We bring the kids down and a good time is usually had by all.

“The kids really enjoy the rides. The fireworks (Saturday) night were really great. It is just good family fun.”

Valentine did not think the weather prevented anyone from coming out. In fact with a number of schools around the area starting today, she believed the fact school was getting back in session might have been a reason some people might not have come out Sunday evening.

Overall, Valentine hopes those who came out to the festival this weekend enjoyed themselves.

“I hope they had a great time with their family,” Valentine said. “I hope they found something for everybody to do.

“I hope people were pleased with what we were able to put together this year. We wanted to thank everybody for coming out and supporting us year after year. We couldn’t do it without the community coming out and supporting us every year.”

Now the planning will begin for the 2015 Homecoming Festival.

“Our first meeting will be Sept. 9 to start all over again for next year,” Valentine said.

The Rubber Ducky winners were:

* First: $5,000 – Rick Smith

* Second: $1,500 – Dean Leach

* Third: $500 – Ed Longwell

* Fourth: $250 – Jack Burroughs

* Fifth: $125 – Stephen Freshour

* Sixth: $100 – Cindy Maze

* Seventh: $100 – Jim Spencer

* Eighth: $100 – Denise Hoover

* Ninth: $100 – Kathy Gesslee

* Tenth: $100 – Judy Peterson